New initiative is poised to tackle night-time crime

IPSWICH: Tackling night-time crime and drink-related incidents in the town centre are set to take a major step forward thanks to a new initiative which is set to be introduced in the coming months.

And yesterday the launch pad was built for the Best Bar None Scheme which has already got the backing of police, the borough council, Ipswich Town Football Club and The Evening Star.

Representatives from the town, including mayor Jane Chambers, Suffolk Chief Constable Simon Ash, Ipswich Borough Council leader Liz Harsant, business leaders, and members of Barwatch, were at the University Campus Suffolk building on the Waterfront to hear what the scheme can achieve.

They were also told the frank truths about violence in the town centre during the evening with 45 offences being categorised as serious each month.

Superintendent David Skevington said that at peak times 12,000 people make their way into Ipswich to enjoy the night life.

Work is already underway to combat the tide of crime with a number of projects in place. These include a night-time economy plan, creation of a dedicated night-time police team, taxi marshalling, introduction of a violent crime car, increased police presence over the weekends, the Innkeeper IT database and the hugely successful Town Pastors.

However, more needs to be done and now officials and leaders in the town are keen to embrace the Best Bar None Scheme, which is also supported by Bookers, UCS and the Tourist Information Centre, and sign up as many clubs, pubs, bars and off licences as possible with an official launch taking place on September 15 at Portman Road.

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n What do you think of the Best Bar None Scheme and do you think it will help reduce night time alcohol-related crime? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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